College is shuttering its cosmetology program at end of school year, students say

Students say change to North Florida Technical College in Starke will happen May 25

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Students at the North Florida Technical College say they’ve just learned their cosmetology program is shutting down with little notice, and many are scrambling to figure out how they’ll complete their degrees.

Several of the students explained to News4JAX how the community in Starke relies on the services the cosmetology students provide, which has apparently been a decades-long town tradition. The program will end at the conclusion of the school year on May 25.

Just a couple more months to go, and Shiann Bradley would have completed the cosmetology program.

“Now, I have to go and re-route my whole life on finding a way to finish just so I can get this license, get my career going,” Bradley said.

The news also upsets Margaret Britnell, who says — with a special needs child at home — she really can’t afford to double her 45-minute commute to the next closest college offering the same program.

“We have contacted people from district, from the school board,” Britnell said. “They are saying that they had no notice of it, they did not vote on it, there was nothing to do with them. We’ve asked the administration here and they’re saying it’s the school board. We can’t get straight answer out of anyone as to who made this final decision.”

Student Christin Bullington said that her class was told -- money is the issue.

“Due to budget cuts, there’s no funding, they don’t have enough funding to pay our teacher, they don’t have enough funding to buy our products for the salon,” Bullington said.

A full-service salon, that these students tell us, has serviced the entire community the past 40 years, which includes catering to those with special needs and the elderly.

A student, who asked to be referred to as Jill, has been with the program since August of last year.

“We just want to know why. Why weren’t we notified? Why wasn’t there there a meeting we could be at? Why wasn’t there some type of notice?” Jill said. “We feel like we were definitely pushed to the side.”

News4JAX attempted to reach the school for comment by phone Thursday, but no one at the school answered. We’ve emailed three administrators and are awaiting a response.

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Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.